mid-first-week report

Jumping back into school after Cancun was not easy. Note that I say, “not easy,” and not, “not fun,” because my first day back-for-the-last-time was fun… not the immediate thrill of last term, but my confidence and excitement and determination to enjoy this last term has been building up, slowly but surely.

Pre-Calc is going to be good. I somehow found a seat across from and next to two people who know exactly what they’re doing and seem like the sort of people I’ll end up being in some mutually tacit competition with on test days- all in good fun, of course – and that I’ll be checking answers against as the term progresses. Haven’t caught their names yet, but we’ll get there.

Customer Service Systems just might drive me to drink coffee… kidding. The instructor’s nice enough, seems like a very pleasant person and I don’t think the class will be bad, just a little dry. When you’ve heard one Verizon horror story, you’ve heard them all; but I had to sit through two days of introductions that included at least five. A little recap – basically everyone gives their name, major, and either a good or bad customer service experience from a customer standpoint. It does start to drag after a while, especially when people start giving figures and complaining about how many texts their child sends. I really do not need to know that you got charged $889 bucks for so-and-so and you refused to pay the bill because it was ridiculous. I’m sure there were valid reasons that I didn’t catch, but please. Anyway…

The first and second nights of Cooking 10 went as well as one could hope for, I think. It’s no Martha Tiffany/Bobby Whitmer/Bradley Bressler A-team, but it’ll be a good team for [Bada-Bing!] laughs if not for occasionally-much-needed hugs. I think my section is all fairly comfortable with each other. No one that I’ve worked with very recently or very very closely in the kitchen… I think we’re fairly safe temperament-wise as long as we all put forth the same amount of effort to keep our respective selves in check.

Not coffee, but I might need tea for Supervision. Chef’s pretty laid-back and he’s funny. Not the sort of jokes one would note and remember and say, “I have to use that one day,” or anything, but he’s easy to like and respect and want to stay awake for – and I say that because it is a three-hour class and someone in the back snored yesterday which brought a laugh. Chef does do his best to keep us entertained and amused – one can expect at least a chuckle every ten to fifteen minutes – and I’m grateful to him for that and am perfectly willing to laugh at anything he says, as for the most part, I appreciate and respect his take on the world.

And now here we are, Thursday, and I have no school! and I left the house for about four hours and I’ve never been called so many names in one day. First I heard Ais, then Dawn, then Aurora, then Kick-Me-If-You-Want-To-Meet-Me (I’m still not entirely sure how that one came about), eventually and almost inevitably ice-ice-baby… At any rate, check out my goodies! below:

There were more and tons better, but they were tons better because I got to eat them all up =) I am currently munching on a Rainbow Sherbet-flavored Immunity Chew. So intriguing.

I saw Sam and Ashley and Holden as soon as I walked in, Chef Yek seconds later, and finally Chef Leatherwood. Hooray for picking the right door =D I noticed Chef Yek instructing the others to take care of me, so I hung out for a bit at the registration table under the pretense of waiting for a name tag until everyone volunteering at the registration table was told that they could start walking.

First stop was vanilla ice cream with a soy sauce ice cream syrup courtesy of Yamasa. I confess I had my doubts when I saw Spud (yes, that’s the nickname on the card) pouring the syrup, but it was delicious. I learned a little bit about the history of soy sauce and how it is made, and I also noted that the mold in the starter, Koji, is the same as that in sake production (yay sommelier class, that made me feel a little more comfortable).

From there, I couldn’t possibly tell you the exact order that things went down, for there was absolutely no method to our madness – I was following Holden – so here’s a list of all the tables that I got paper stuffs from (and I didn’t get stuffs from all the tables we stopped at, mind you), and then I’ll see what I can remember food-wise: Carmi Flavors, International Bakers Services, Inc., WILD Flavors, Inc., Flavor Producers, Ajinomoto Food Ingredients, LLC, Colloides Naturels, Inc., Gold Coast Ingredients, GNT USA, Inc., Hoyt, Inc., Weber Flavors, Par-Way Tryson Company, NATUREX Ultimate Botanical Benefits, and St. Charles Trading, Inc.

I was munching on those Immunity Chews earlier and now I’m having caramel popcorn courtesy of Carmi Flavors. Lol. Let’s see… there was lots of tea. Lots and lots and lots of tea. Powders and extracts, you understand, but lots of tea. There was a mango/peach tea and more peach tea and two or three black teas and a white pear basil tea at the table with the margarita cookies (we went back to that one for seconds) and another tea that was served in little medicine cups which was a strange presentation but tasted great and I wish we’d gone back for more at the end when everything was being given away and there were five bottles just sitting there that didn’t look like they were going to get any decent amount of attention… Lots of tea.

There was also some chocolate/vanilla drink (highlighting the flavor profile of two extracts, interesting combination, like chocolate milk with the consistency and mouth-feel of water), at least three coffees (there was one iced cappuccino that tasted like how I remember milk in the Pinas tasting, that stood out), sangria (yummyyy) at the table with raspberry spritz cookies (decent) and a rice-based meatless taco filling (great flavor), some elderberry/echinacea/something liquid (it was like liquid red jello) at the same table as brownies (Holden had one; I didn’t) and chocolate buttercreams (terribly rich).

I’m pretty sure I also had cheetos, cheddar popcorn, one of those two-bite brownies, a garlic/bulgogi dip served with shrimp chips that tasted like ramen noodles, dried fruits, nuts, jelly beans, grilled/smoked apple and pineapple tidbits (pineapple tidbits were nothing incredibly out of the ordinary, but the apple chunks had the most amazing flavor), and probably more that I simply cannot recall.

Take-homes included a bag… oh, wait. Funny story. I had my laptop bag with me, but Holden was holding all of his hand-outs and he said his arm was getting tired. We passed Kim and Sam and Ashley and they all had bags from some table. Holden decided to walk around and not stop anywhere until he found the table with the bags. He found one, alright… a plastic bag. Which we realized was not the nice, durable canvas bag that the others were carrying when we bumped into them again. Well, we found that one, too, eventually… Anyway, yes, I gots a bag and a bread knife and tic tacs (that are not actually tic tacs), more jelly beans, the caramel popcorn, mild fire-roasted diced green chiles, twizzlers, pepperoni, a lot of bench scrapers, and some gummi thingies.

The expo was a pretty great experience, and I can’t wait to go again next year. Some of my future instructors were pointed out to me, and I met a couple very pleasant junior-year students who very kindly and freely shared tips and insights. We even had a little time to trade MCI stories =)

Overall a very productive day. And a very productive first half-week. My only pet peeve is from certain 1N12K stuff that I have absolutely no control over… ahem… lol. Well. This, too, shall pass, I suppose. And praise God it will pass quickly, because the amount of homework I already have is absolutely ridiculous, not to mention I haven’t even begun to get stuff together for my Honors Scholar portfolio which is due in three weeks…



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